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POST OF THE WEEK

Re: Where are the Flags ?By Bertasion in Valley of the Sun Casual Club The other day upon the heather fair I hit a flagstick that was not there. I saw it's shadow and heard the clank but where it stood was just a blank. It was not there again today. I wonder when it will come back and stay. Brian
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Congressional CC Course Walk Through Back 9

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subject title Congressional CC Course Walk Through Back 9

Post by pdb1 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 18:02


Hole 10


A long iron par 3 downhill and over water.

The further back your tee, the greater the elevation change. From the front tees, it's 156 yards and 18' down. From the legend tees, it's 208 yards and 27' down. How you approach this tee shot depends on your clubs and the wind.

With zero wind and full backspin to maximize carry, your ball will carry more than your club's stated yardage, but how much more will depend on your club choice. From 208 yards with no wind, I would like to hit a 200 yard 3i with full backspin. Unfortunately, my 3i is only rated for 195 yards which will leave me in the rough perilously close to the water's edge. Because I don't carry a hybrid, I'm forced to choke down on a 3w which is not a good substitute and usually results in over-shooting the pin by 5-10 yards.

With a headwind or tailwind, this hole becomes easier for me personally. With a 10 mph+ tailwind, I know I can reach the green with a 3i. With a 10 mph headwind, I play a 3w, full backspin, and use the meter as if there were no loss or gain of yardage.

The green has a ridge just past the hole that separates the green into the upper back half and lower front half. Putts from the upper half hit the downslope, pick up speed, and generally roll right past the hole. If I was given the choice to putt from up top or chip from the rough below the hole, I would pick the rough every time.

The ridge can be used to your benefit too. If you faceplant your tee shot into the ridge, you can get it to roll back toward the hole leaving a fast, but makeable 6'-8' putt for birdie. The nice thing about the ridge is, no matter where you miss (right or left), the semi-circular ridge will funnel the ball toward the hole (see my replay "CCC 10 approach" for an example of this shot).

Anything on the green and below the hole is good birdie opportunity.


Hole 11


A long par 4 to an uphill green. Very few birdies here, but not impossible.

With the fairway below you 20+ feet, a tailwind and judicious backspin to get the ball up in the air, you can hit some pretty impressive drives here, which is good because it's more than 500 yards from the tips. If you have a headwind here, reaching the green in regulation is a challenge.

For the best look at the pin, try to land your drive on the left side of the fairway.

The Approach.

This is the money shot on this hole. It's probably a long iron or a fairway wood to a pin that is 20' above you and protected by water on the right and bunkers on the left. The choice is whether to fly the ball to the hole or bump and run. The bump and run is the safer shot and can get close, but involves a fair amount of luck.

Flying the ball to the hole will require full backspin to have any sort of bite on this elevated green. Adding backspin on a long iron shot so close to the water is risky. The slightest mishit right can cost you a stroke, The pin is also at the back of the green where it slopes away from you, so even a dinged shot is likely to roll off the back side into the rough.

For the bump and run, try to run it up the middle of the green. The overall left to right slope of the green will pull the ball toward the hole. The nice thing about the bump and run is that it doesn't require spin, which means slight mishits are not the end of the world. The green will forgive rolling shots that miss a little left. Rolling shots that miss a little right will probably get hung up in the rough before hitting the water, and sometimes they will even follow the right hand border of the green and funnel back toward the pin.

All in all, running the ball up the fairway on your approach is a much better chance at a rare birdie here.

From the backside rough.

A disproportion number of approaches will end up 7-10 yards behind the pin in the rough. This is an entirely makeable chip shot. The key to holing this shot is speed control. From behind the pin, it's a very fast trip to the pin and it breaks from right to left. I prefer a pitch with full backspin, and then play it about 75% power of what I would normally hit at this distance. You might end up a little short, but a tap in par is a good score on this hole.


Hole 12


This is a driver - mid iron hole for many, but it's one of the few good birdie chances at CCC. The key to a good score on this hole is an accurate drive.

Depending on your clubs and tee box, you will either be playing to fly the dogleg or hug the left side at the bend. What gets most players in trouble here is the bunker on the right past the dogleg (unlikely from the tips), or the rough on the left short of the dogleg. The back tees are 20' above the fairway, so you can plan on some extra carry here. From the forward tees, the fairway is almost level. From that perspective, this hole is a bit of an equalizer between the tiers.

The Approach

The pin is protected on the right by a large bunker. If you end up in the bunker, you are looking at bogey for sure and possibly double bogey. There is simply no way to get out of the sand and end up anywhere near the pin. With that said, there is absolutely no reason why the bunker should even come in to play.

The green slopes uphill from the fairway and generally breaks from left to right. The correct approach is to fly the ball most of the way and plan to land the ball on the left side of the pin to keep the bunker out of play. If the ball releases at all, it will release toward the hole.

Landing the ball short and right will also cause it to trickle toward the hole, but not with any control as it means rolling down a steep slope, and you have to flirt with the bunker. It's a bad decision.

The common mistake is under-clubbing this approach. From the numbers, it seems like a straight forward approach, but the steep uphill slope of the green usually causes mid irons to stop short of the hole. Play this one 3-5% longer than you think.

Left or right of the pin will mean a breaking putt, but putts from the left side of the pin will be level or uphill.


Hole 13


Uphill par 3

With the frontside pin, this hole gives you a lot of opportunity for birdie, but there are some factors to take into account.

The upslope of the green and the raised elevation causes most tee shots to be short. Play this hole about 5% longer than the stated yardage to reach the pin. However, being short on this par 3 will leave a makeable putt of chip back up the hill.

Don't be long! Be on line! Tee shots that are long or off line will have to deal with a fast putt, a hard breaking putt, or both.


Hole 14


A difficult from start to finish downhill-uphill-downhill par 4.

The tee shot here may require a 3w. The fairway thins down to a toothpick in the middle, so if you have the club length to get to the skinny part, a wise golfer will club down rather than risk an approach to this green from 30-40% rough. Bear in mind the elevation of the fairway which will cause your tee shot to carry far.

The Approach

From just short of fairway corset, you'll have a 170 to 190 yard approach to to a green that is raised 25' or more. Pretend the green is level with you. Seriously.

The bump and run, five yards left of the hole, will roll right up the green and gently arc to the right toward the pin. If the pin is 185 yards away, play it with your 185 yard club with no action on the ball. This is one of those rare holes where less is more. No backspin, no topspin, no clubbing up or down, just aim a little left and roll it up there, it will consistently get closer than you think.

The only exception to the above paragraph is dealing with headwinds and tailwinds, adjust your club or power accordingly, but still play a centerball bump and run.

If you get your yardage right, you should roll right up the rise in the green just short of the pin. Even though you'll end up with a fast downhill putt, if you make a mistake on this approach, make it a little long. Usually being below the hole is preferable, but this hole is the exception. The ridge immediately below the hole makes misjudging the speed of the uphill putt a real possibility. I would rather have a 20' putt that's 3" downhill than a 25' putt that's 15" uphill.


Hole 15


A lay up par 4.

A lot of other players will disagree with my management of this hole, but to me, a par on this hole is like getting 1/2 a stroke on the rest of the field.

I don't care about my drive because I'm going to lay up at the end of the fairway left of the bunkers. I'm might hit a 3w if there are tricky winds to deal with, or a centerball drive in light winds, but there's absolutely no reason to risk putting it in the rough off of this tee.

My lay up is usually a mid to long iron up the throat of the fairway to 20 yards short of the green. The worst outcome is over hitting the lay up and trickling onto the edge of the green for a 100'+ hard breaking putt. From my fairway lie, I have a full wedge to the pin and I virtually assure myself of par, (see my replay "CCC 15 approach").

That's how I play it.

Regardless of how good or bad your tee shot is, most players will go for the pin on their approach (By the way, when playing in an AS match on CCC back 9, I will opt to tee off first simply to have the approach shot on this hole. Par is almost always a win on this hole), if you go for the hole, the elevation of the green will assure you won't hold the green and will either be short and in the frontside bunker or long and in the thick rough chipping downhill to the pin. All things considered, I'd rather be long here.


Hole 16


At 515 yards from the red tees and 569 from the black, this hole is pretty much unreachable in two. With a helping tailwind and two well struck shots, I'm usually still outside of my preferred distance for wedge accuracy, but I'm a short hitter so for most, I'd guess that there's a real danger of ending up in that undesirable 30 yard range to the pin.

Play your second shot to set up your third shot. If your best wedge distance is 50 yards, try to leave it at 45 out (the upslope of the fairway causes a lot of approaches to be shorter than expected). Don't just hit without thinking. Plan for your ideal shot. There aren't many opportunities to wedge and putt for birdie, don't waste this one.

If you're planning on drawing the ball back to the hole with backspin, be careful not to fly the green. There's not much room behind the back pin location.


Hole 17


Another difficult par 4.

You have to add backspin! The fairway is above you in the landing area then downhill in the rolling out area, also, there is another pitcher spout at the end of this fairway. If you don't put backspin on the ball, the drive's low angle of impact when it hits the fairway is going to make it run far. When the downslope kicks in, your ball will keep running until it is effectively slowed down by the 40% rough. It's better to be short and hitting form the short grass.

The Approach.

Like the first hole at BPB, this hole plays long. There's no reason for it; the hole is below you and the green isn't on big upslope. Still, a 165 iron, with no wind, only goes 155-160 here, so add some power and plan to land the ball a little left of the pin and it should trickle toward the hole.


Hole 18


From the tips, this is a 520 yard par 4.

The tee shot here is a lot of fun. The fairway is below you so, right away, you're going to get some extra distance. The fairway also slopes away from you so that's going to add some roll. Throw a tailwind into the mix and you could be looking at a 320-330 yard drive. But it's not that simple...

Most hitters will try to cut the corner of the slight dogleg left to get a few more yards out of their drive. This is short sighted.

Playing to the right side of the fairway greatly diminishes the threat of getting wet on your approach. Still, 80% of the time, I watch my opponent fly over water to reach the pin. The right side doesn't take it out of play, but it does give you the option of laying up on the green and still getting to the lower portion,

(see my replay "CCC 18 green lay up". In this replay, from view #2, you can see how the overall slope of the green will run the ball from the back right side to the front left, with a little more roll, this is a birdie opportunity).

Unless the wind is strong and in your face, you will most likely need to club down because the green will be 30'-35' below you.
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